By Henry Guion
Living with hydrocephalus is very hard. Being bullied at the same time was a nightmare! Grade school for me was one of the worst experiences of my educational career. It started off when I got glasses, which came about because I lost some of my vision from hydrocephalus. The first name that I got was “four-eyed freak.” This broke my heart. I went home and cried to my mom.
Having hydrocephalus, I wasn’t allowed to play any contact sports such as football, basketball or wrestling, so I had to find things to substitute. Fortunately, and because I had to find a substitute for athletics, I was more interested in the arts. I loved plays, dancing, and singing. But, because I didn’t pick up a football or a basketball, I was called a “girl,” a “sissy,” and nearly every other name that you can think of. How silly is that?
I was never a wiz when it came to my school work, especially with math. I can remember when the teachers would pass back our assignments and some of the students would ask how I did. I was ashamed to say so, but I would tell them anyway. It then became humorous to see how poorly I had done.
With all of this going on I would always question myself. “Why? Why am I here and what is my purpose?” These were hard times for me. It was my mother who was able to step in and to encourage me to continue to be strong and not let anyone bring me down. She taught me how to stand up to my bullies in a positive way, helped me with school so that I could get better grades, and supported my love for the arts. I was able to get over feeling less than everyone else and just to live and be excited about who I was as a person, and as a person living with hydrocephalus. I feel as though if it wasn’t for going through the things that I went through, I wouldn’t be the person that I am today.
I encourage you to stand up to your bullies. How? Here are some suggestions…
Tell a teacher or a parent. If you tell someone with authority that you’re being bullied, it’ll keep you from being violent with the bully yourself, out of anger and frustration. Or help keep you from feeling really sad or alienated. It will help keep everything at peace.
STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. Standing up for yourself doesn’t mean fighting; it means being more assertive and telling the bully how you feel. It also means you can tell them to leave you alone.
Please don’t fight. Fighting is never the answer to any issue. To make things easier…just walk away. It’s okay to cry and be upset. I’d rather cry and be upset than come home with a black eye or a bruised body.
Most importantly, I encourage you to love who are. You have hydrocephalus and so do I, and so do many other teens and young adults across the country connecting through the Hydrocephalus Association’s Teens Take Charge (TTC) program. This is what MAKES US AWESOME!
How do you deal with bullying? Let’s start a conversation. Use hashtag #TalkTTC.
Listed below are organizations which provide suggestions, ideas, and advice for victims of bullying. Check them out!
General Information and Resources
- The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
- American Academy of Children & Adolescents Psychiatry (AACAP)
- PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center
- 30 Seconds: AAPD’s Campaign to Stop Bullying
- Pacer Center
- NASP Bullying Resources
- National Crime Prevention
- Internet Safety 101